African Heritage Day Cleveland Cultural Gardens World on Stage St. Casimir Church Hall East 82nd St. and Sowiniski Ave. Cleveland July 1, 2023
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation is presenting a series of World on Stage events in the Gardens to showcase various heritages. The first 2023 event was African Heritage Day on July 1, 2023.
Due to rain and air quality issues the event was moved inside from the Gardens main Centennial Plaza stage to the hall of nearby St. Casimir Church.
Dan Hanson of ClevelandPeople.com welcomed the crowd and explained that Africa consists of 54 countries and that while there are commonalities, the culture of Senegal, for example, has differences from that of Ethiopia or Tanzania or Liberia or Egypt and so on.
Dan introduced MC Sia Nyorkor, anchor and reporter for WOIO 19 TV. Sia told of her Liberian heritage and explained what her name meant.
Sia Nyorkor at Africa Heritage Day
She then did a roll call asking where people came from and some of the heritages that the audience members had included Liberia, Ghana, Congo, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia. One attendee from Pretoria, South Africa said, "This is the first time I've felt like home since I came to Cleveland."
She then introduced Carasai Ihentuge from Yum Village who explained some African foods from his father's Nigerian roots.
Yum Village food truck
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Khalid Samad from Peace in the Hood and Raj from 99 Treasures told about the group.
Raj from 99 Treasures
Khalid then introduced Uvita who began by asking permission from the elders to continue and held a quick libation ceremony.
Explaining 99 Treasures
She then taught the audience some African words and then led the drummers in a drum performance.
99 Treasures drummers
This next video is the grand finale drum performance by 99 Treasures.
MC Sia Nyorkor introduced some civic and community leaders including Angela Woodson who was representing Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. Next, Obie Shelton of the African American Cultural Garden spoke. He was followed by former Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson.
The event also included an energetic performance by Black Beanz, a group of young men from The Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and other African countries who met in high school in Akron Ohio and formed a dance crew.